Missing the draft effect

(Steve Swan - PVC (C)) #1

Are there any tricks or tips for drafting?

i’ve been riding on Zwift for a couple of months and have had flawless performance from my Wahoo Snap Kickr don’t seem to be getting any draft effect when riding behind a few riders, or when I’m in a big pack.   I can also tell by looking at my power output that there doesn’t seem to be any difference from riding solo to riding in a group at the same speed and gradient.

I don’t see any recent comments / complaints on this.  Am I missing something?



(Todd Taylor) #2

I’ve been riding Zwift for several months and I’ve always found it hard to draft. Feeling any benefit from a draft is very sporadic for me, some times I can, sometimes I can’t.  In my ride last night, I was trying to draft a rider and my watts/kg didn’t go down at all when I appeared to be drafting.  We were both using smart trainers.

(L Read) #3

Yes, Zwift drafting effect is hit and miss and mediocre at best. There is just not enough of a draft effect, and once you are behind someone, it is hard to get out of their draft to follow an overtaking rider.


compared to Netathlon vr software, Zwift drafting is really lacking in realism.


(Kendall Bennett (amaincycling.com)) #4

Same here, I do not notice any power reduction or resistance reduction when I am in the draft using my Wahoo KICKR either. 

(David Tyler ZHR (G)) #5

Me niether. I put my ANT dongle a couple of inches away from my KickR using an extension cable but it made no difference. I was in a big group ride yesterday for a while and there was no draft effect at all. I was over 4 watts per kilo for a while so backed down to around 2.5 to 3 watts to match everybody around me. I was now riding a lot easier but still in the group.

I have noticed that when you come up behind a rider you tend not to fly past them anymore and you can sit behind them but as L Read pointed out. it takes a big effort to pass them when you decide to go.

Something seems to be a bit screwed up recently.

On the plus side the workout creator is great!

(Kendall Bennett (amaincycling.com)) #6

Today I managed to get a draft boost power up so I used it in a group and it made a huge difference. The guys I drafted were doing 3.5 w/kilo and I was doing about 2-2.5 w/kilo and able to sit there. But after it went away it pretty much went back to normal. If the guy in front is doing 3.0 w/kilo I have to be doing pretty much 3.0 w/kilo to stay in the group it seems.

(Frank van den Berg(ODZ-C)) #7

A while ago you got stuck behind an other rider. Drafting worked like a magnet. Now i have the same experience as the riders above. 

In big groups and over 900 riders online, i don’t feel the drafting effect.

(David Tyler ZHR (G)) #8

I use a Powertap on the road so I know how much drafting can make a difference. If I’m doing around 220 watts then get behind someone I expect that to drop to about 160 to 170 watts. More if it is a big guy (I’m not big). You certainly feel the difference.

I’m sure this will be sorted out. I can only see Zwift getting better as time goes by. 

(Craig Hoskin) #9

The thing to note, on the flat, is that W/kg is not the measure you want to be looking at.  On the flat its all about W, not W/kg.  W/kg comes into play when the road goes upwards.

So if a rider A weighs 80 kg, is pushing  320W … then if you weigh (rider B) 60kg … you also have to be doing 320W … to match him (ie no draft).  For riderA that means they are sitting at 4W/kg … but for you to match them at 60kg, you have to 5.3 W/kg.

Getting into the draft is actually a bit of a skill on ZWIFT … you basically have to watch your power levels and slowly bring them back and watch really really closely the bunch.  You will find you can slowly back off the power until you start to drift … and then up it a little.  Its very very delicate :slight_smile:

(Steve Swan - PVC (C)) #10

Thanks for all the great insight - looks like I am not alone in my observations about the challenge of drafting in Zwift.   Don’t get me wrong…  I’m not complaining as the App is great, but did want to find out if there was a trick to drafting that I had not figured out yet.

I tried the advice of the earlier posts tonight and by being very careful to stay in the group, was able to ride the loop about 10% faster than without the group, while putting in the same effort.   Curiously, the average watts for the ride went up ~10% but my heart rate was the same.  This suggests that the App gave me “bonus watts” for riding in the group but the actual power coming out of my legs was ~10% less.  Regardless of that theory, it does make sense to try and stay inside the pack.

To D. Tyler:  It’s also my experience that riding in a pack is worth ~20% so your   numbers of 220w to ~170 make sense.  That is certainly not what we feel from the Zwift App.

To Craig H.:  I hadn’t thought about the power effect of flats vs hills but if what you say is true that I wouldn’t stand a chance against most riders (my FTP is ~185 watts).  Maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad when I get dropped going down a hill!  :-)

(Paul Gray) #11

I think its also important to note the times when draft effects are disabled:

  • Doing a workout (I think but I could be wrong here)
  • On a TT bike (Because TT times are disqualified if drafting IRL)

Not sure if this may solve some of the questions but thought I would make sure it was covered

(Erwan Malle) #12

May be it is difficult for the zwift system to get the drafting effect realistic.

Sometimes I use the zwift app in the same time as a friend of mine who lives in an other place.

As we talk by phone during the session, we could note small differences in the position from each other.

same remark when I ride on the apps with my wife on two different computers.

If the positions of the riders are not clearly synchronized I think the system can’t produce the drafting effect.

(Cleve Waterman 69y/o) #13

Kickr Snap

I have not noticed any significant draft effect when riding in groups.

What i have seen repeatedly is that if i get in front of the pack and then back off my power, i will fall off the back in a heartbeat  i have to pedal furiously for a long time to keep from getting dropped.  this might be a Snap issue.

(L ard Ass) #14

i agree with the lack of the draft effect.  Out on the road, you get sucked into the draft effect of the person in front of you.

On Zwift, there is only one very small spot of draft effect.  There is no gradual increase or decrease in the draft effect.

(Cleve Waterman 69y/o) #15

Definitely feeling the draft now, lot more than previous.   Rode the World Social Ride this weekend. Very big group.  So much draft that i was concentrating on taking pictures as much as riding.

(" Mota "Navarro (B)) #16

I don’t feel the draft behind nobody , the feather , or the draft button effect , maybe it is too subtle?

I have a Kickr that works great.

Can I adjust it somewhere?